The medium as the hardware of the technical presupposition of the encyclopedia
is the typography. The first En-zyclopedien came into being about 1600
by the German Johann Heinrich Alsted with the old humanistque idea, to
collect all knowledge of mankind and put it in an alphabetical system..
The closest step from this idea was, to make all knowledge accessible and understandable to all human beings. This Enzyklopedism begun in France by d'Alembert, Diderot, Rousseau, Voltaire, Condilac, Montesquieu. And Robespierre titled this as the beginning of the French revolution.
The big problem of this 2. step was, to make all people able to read and to understand through corresponding schools, and to make the encyclopedia approachable in public libraries. At that time it was an utopian idea.
Today the humankind can be proud, for having reached and realizes this destination. Anybody can go into school and than into a library and inform himself, what about he wants -principally -.
But books are expensive and unmanageable heavy. The libraries are also large and expensive, but nevertheless too small for all books. The schools are in the same manner large and expensive. Besides that the school take more and more lifetime. The pedagogical educational program are bad because they are equal for all.
To understand the relation between "table generally" and "table individual" it needs about 20 years and costs about 100000 dollars.( In the conventional way )(But I'm afraid, you will find only one university in the world, to get this information even after 20 years searching.)
Furthermore the normal school destructs the natural nosiness and the natural zest to learn and even to teach for the most disciples . In the equal manner written language in books has the same destructive effect to many people.
The closest level of this idea is Internet.
The possibilities of Internet are the optimizations of the hardware together with the possibilities of the software.
And I hope, that Bill Gates or someone else will use the possibility of the alliance of Internet, computer and soft-ware to bring the knowledge of humankind in a reasonable language and packaged into the best individual educa-tional program for all ages and mentalities, which can use the possibility of interaction for learning, so that every-body can get his own information together with an educational program as he/she likes. Schools and universities will thereby unfortunately furthermore indispensable. But there would be much more time for more important discussions and things.
But he mainproblem of this old idea of Enzyclopedism is a philosophical one and too difficult for me, to write it in a foreign language, and I'm not going to not try to describe it in an alien language as English.
In German language I ask about this in my Mail-Art-letters to Gerold
Prauss (philosopher), Birger Jesch (Mail-artist), Olaf Metz (theologian)
and Olgierd Blazewicz (theorist of art).
Try to get a translation and send me a copy please!
Very simplifies in some simply words, I would say, the pessimismís
in the American philosophy of postmodern theory results by an error in
the interpretation of the "modern" relation: individual human beings to
society and science.
Sure, the physician knows me as a body better as I do,
the psychologist knows and understands my feelings better as I do,
the sociologist knows and understands my acting and my motives better as I do,
in the equal way the scientist of art, literature, knows and understands art and literature better, than the artist and writer.
In the same we have it in religious belief: the theologian knows and understands my believing better as I do.
The care of the human beings is today better and complete than ever before.
And it is true, in this perfectness the individual is an accidental and exchangeable appearance or phenomenon without special importance, without competence and - globally - without responsibility.
The same is valid for the accidental and exchangeable individual as representative of the special science. And nobody wants to change this. Both the science as well as I hope, to make perfect this system of science and care.particularly along with assistance of the Internet.
But there is a problem.
To understand the Dilemma, you have to reflect the beginning of the modern.: both the occasion to the free uni-versities and "enlightenment by means" of science as well as the beginning of the modern painting it was the lib-eration from indoctrination and patronizing of human beings through convention and institutions.
The modern painting began besides this as liberation from academism, empirism and formalism.
But now, the pessimism of postmodern philosophy sees the loss of the identity of human beings as well as all culture, because the incapacitation of the individuum seems to be more worse as before and irreversible.
The only way out of it seems to be, to leave the civilization or the resignation of the individual.
The imagination and view of horror will be completely disheartening, with the conclusion, that civilization and science destructs not only the human beings and all culture, but also all life as finitely as well the space and the ecology of life.
But somewhere there is an error, error, error, error, error.
One thing is sure: in Jesus you will lose the fear, the hopelessness,
and receive your identity and your eternal life.
But neither Christianity nor Buddhism nor Islam nor Hinduism nor science will disable or stop this hopeless de-velopment. Jesus brought no Philosophy, no science and no doctrine, he didn't make our thinking and responsi-bility superfluous. If you spring out of your window, even through erroneously, you will fall even if it was an error religious.
The difficulty to see the problem as an error of thinking you can see in the different use of the term "stuff" or "matter": in English it is as well named subject, but in the meaning as the object of science and knowledge.
The truth as well as the responsibility seems to be not in the human beings but outside of him in the objective science, in the work of art, in the nature, in the matter and its laws. This is an error.
In the history of culture it is not accidentally, that the artists was protagonists to make this error in reasoning and to look and try intuitively the way out of this. The first delineationís and sculptures they made they said and be-lieved, that this creations are God, are the ghost of an human beings or animal.
To belief, that a sculpture or a drawing itself is God or ghost, than it was one of the big embarrassing aberration of the humankind. It was good to be forbidden by Moses in the 2. Bidding. (For artists it was good, lest not as well to forbid to draw and to paint generally.)
Leonardo da Vinci searched at the beginning of the era of science the background of a smile - we see on the sur-face and skin of the human beings - in the logical appreciation under the surface, while he removed the skin to understand the sense and function of a smile. it implies: he prospected the reality and truth not in which picture but in which model for his picture. It means: in the material subjectivity of his model. He found in similar way as the postmodern philosophy a negatives symbol: the skull as the miracle of the end. Realy the skull is not the back-ground of a smile.
To see the error in it, the error of such pessimism, it isn't simple.
The pessimism doesn't result because of rancor-ousness, and you should
not fear, that the American philosophers are stupid or superficial or light-headed.
The error isn't to see the skull; the error isn't the way, Leonardo and
the sciences goes, - sciences can never be inten-sive and good enough.
Therefore nothing against the universities and sciences!
I know, if I insinuate the error very simple like here, it is to fear to be misunderstood in a analogous simple way.
The error by Leonardo is, to forget what he was seeking for: namely the background of a smile, or the inside as the essence of human being. Leonardo forgot it, because he found too much other very interesting and important answers.
An error is, if he or you think based upon of such research, that both the smile such as also the essence of it is a negligibility and superficiality thing or illusion only on the surface of the skin.
An error is, not to inquire, wy he didn't find the essence of a smile,
the essence of human being with this way.
An error would be to think or belief, that there is no smile.
More difficult and just as disconcerting is the error, to belief that
a drawing or a photo is a replication or copy of the reality as a
truth or as evidence of a truth.
In the equal way it is a embarrassing error to belief, that a knowledge such as such drawing is a copy of the reality and truth. To understand this, you should know something about the structure of a knowledge. Empirical science don't find the truth but utilizable experience. To have and collect this it is important and very valuable.
The damages and error as well as a problem of a veritable big dimension in this realization of encyclopedism and scientific was and is, - in one way because the conditional structure and the effort of the schools and universities and the job as teacher and professor with their social position and with a lot of power over pupils and students, - (beside this) more or less to belief and more or less to make belief, that scientific is a truth as a new patronizing, egalitarianism and indoctrination and doctrine.
Reclusively the structure of the new hardware with computer and Internet can bring a lot of those misunder-standings to a correction, if with this instrument science will be again, what science is: utilizable experience as a service for the human beings, this means if it is available for everybody and through good pedagogical educational program understandable, usable and payable for everybody. It is a very basi change. And I don't think, the prestige of the sciences aren't detach with this change.
As well in future you will not find the background or the responsibility of a smile in someone science or library or encyclopedia or in the Internet. If you ask the child, the girl or the laughing boy, perhaps it, she or he will answer you. Or you will not find the truth in someone science or library; the science of art will not be able to define, what is art. And no theory could be tell you or could be responsible for a quality of a painting.
"Artist" and "Scientist of Art" are two different profession. The science of art will be, what it is real today: a very valuable service for artists and consumers.
If you think, that this optimism is the closest big error of the artists,
if this is a proclamation to teach everybody how to build anatomic bomb,
- and perhaps you conclude, that there should be limits and stonewall of
liberty, strictness controls of attitude and moralistique quality for all
user in Internet. But I think, there should be no walls of that kind in
Internet in the same way, as I'm not controlled, if I go in the library.
There are many many vicious criterionís to make limits and walls and controls.
With that one can get power over peoples in same as with the control over
newspapers or television.
Sure, there are criminals and neonazis in Internet. But they are going also over the roads, they are hearing with their ears and lying with the tongue. But the criminal fact they do is not to use computer and internet, not to go over the roads, not to hear with their ears and to use the tongue and the language, so that one could forbid com-puters, Internet, roads and languages and cut the ears and tongue of all bad people - to prevent, that they can do their bad thing. Mama mia!
But also this problem is much more difficult to explain it with this simple arguments. If I say: "Don't lie!" it is another thing as a instruction or grammar, how to use the language or the tongue or the brain. If it would be pos-sible, to find out the truth inside the head if somebody tell the truth or if he is lying, I'm afraid there would be an operating table in many or all policestations. It would be a disaster of mankind and I would leave - not because I like lyers or if I like to lie, but I don't like to sleep in a prokrustesbed.
© Friedhelm Schulz, c/o Mail-Art-Museum, 26. April 2000, Friedhelm-Schulz.Mail-Art@t-online.de